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Natural Sciences Research

Fully Funded PhD Studentships in Natural Sciences at Keele University

The Faculty of Natural Sciences at Keele University is pleased to announce up to 7 fully-funded PhD studentships for UK/EU students for start in September/October 2016, as well as opportunities for part-funded PhD studentships for suitable candidates.

Home to a diverse range of disciplines from Astrophysics to Psychology, the Faculty Natural Sciences brings together a community of over 150 internationally-leading researchers and 151 postgraduate research students. Performance in REF2014, the UK research excellence assessment exercise, was very strong across all submissions, with considerable world leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) research identified in each discipline within the Faculty. All of our postgraduate research students benefit from being part of this high intensity research environment.

Applications are invited from high quality prospective doctoral candidates in the areas of Astrophysics, Chemical Sciences, Computer Science, Geography, Geology and Environment, Life Sciences, Mathematics, and Psychology. We welcome candidates with a good fit to our research specialisms and the expertise of our academic staff. Candidates are expected to have a 1st class or 2.1 class undergraduate degree or a Distinction level MSc degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent in the case of candidates from other EU countries). A selection of topics of interests for each research area is provided below.

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Extra-solar planets discovery; star formation and stellar populations in the Magellanic Clouds; dynamical evolution of massive star forming regions; young stars in the Milky Way; high-precision studies of eclipsing binary stars; atmospheric properties of A/F/G stars; dusty dying stars in the local Universe; stellar hydrodynamics, evolution and nucleosynthesis simulations; laboratory astrophysics at the Diamond light source.

Chemical Sciences

Hydrothermal synthesis and structural characterization of catalytic porous materials; sensors for gas storage; synthesis of spiropyran sensors; novel antioxidant glutathione peroxidase mimetics; hydrophobic amphiphiles; development of novel analytical techniques for blood-borne biomarkers; cuticular hydrocarbons as post-mortem indicators; ceramic pigments; application of mixed metal fluorides and oxides in optical devices; new technologies for automated chemical synthesis.

Computer Science

Computational modelling of evolutionary systems; computational neuroscience; evolving intelligent virtual creatures; computational intelligence for biomedical and engineering problems; visualisation and data analytics in e-health; machine learning analysis of consumer behaviour; cloud computing services and security; user experience design for e-learning; evidence based methods for designing and creating complex software.

Natural Sciences Research

Geography, Geology and Environment

Biogeochemistry; glacial and periglacial environments; landscape ecology; Quaternary environmental change; palaeoceanography; environmental geophysics; igneous petrology; volcanology; basin dynamics; sedimentology; structural geology; palaeontology; petroleum geoscience; mobilities, identities and culture; renewable energy; environmental engineering; environmental sustainability.

Life Sciences

Cell fate and signalling in cancer and diabetes; structure and function of immune system molecules; glycosaminoglycans in cell regulation; bioinformatics for personalised medicine; hearing neuroscience; neuroplasticity and regeneration; molecular aspects of neurological disorders; insect pheromones; insect-born disease control (malaria, Dengue fever, Leishmania, Trypanosoma); molecular entomology; ecological genomics.

Natural Sciences Research


Waves and instabilities on aircraft wings; instabilities in thin film flows; "freak" waves and tsunamis; fluid dynamics for geophysics; elastic waves and vibrations in waveguides; stability and buckling in smart materials; ground vibrations produced by high-speed trains; waves in multi-layered elastic media; biomechanics for regenerative medicine, aneurysm ruptures in arteries, physiological flow in the lungs; Galois module structure of algebraic integers; Hopf-Galois theory; quantum deformations of coordinate rings in algebraic geometry; algebraic structures and Latin squares; intuitionism.


Visual attention; autism; face perception; cognitive control processes; false memory; context-dependent memory; alcohol hangover; swearing and pain; social identity and crowds; domestic abuse; bullying in schools; children's literacy; cyberpsychology; parenting; children and advertising; children's emotion recognition.

Natural Sciences Research

For further details on research in each of our Research Centres please visit here.

Students in the Faculty have an excellent record of successful completion of their PhDs, and benefit from a structured approach to research support, extending from a dedicated project supervisor and supervisory team to access to a wide variety of research and training opportunities at Faculty and University level. PhD students are an integral part of our research community and are encouraged to take part in a wide ranging seminar programme, and have access to University-wide opportunities through the Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences, dedicated to enhancing the cultural and academic environment of all students and staff through encouraging interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration across the university.


Each fully-funded studentship includes an annual tax-free stipend at RCUK rate plus tuition fees (currently £14,296 for stipend and £4,121 for fees). The funding is available for 3 years. Each studentship has an associated research expense budget (£2,000 – £3,000 per year, depending on the nature of the project, to cover project related consumables and conference travel).

Opportunities are also available for candidates from the UK/EU and overseas who can demonstrate that they can fully or partially self-fund. If you are interested in this route, please contact Professor Peter Andras at for a discussion.

Closing Date

Closing date for applications is Friday 15 April 2016 FNSGS2016-07.

Full details and application procedures can be found on the website.

For the purpose of research proposal applicants should submit an outline of their research interests or of a particular research project that the applicant would like to work on (max. 2 pages).

Please send any questions by email to Lisa Cartlidge ( or Ann Billington (